Beef. Salad. Bun. From these basic hamburger building blocks, the possibilities are endless. While Perth is home to a dizzying array of burger options, the following players – some big-ticket fine diners, some suburban heroes – are all striking blows for good eating betwixt bread.
Short Order Burger Co
Four nights a week in the corner of a converted Fremantle warehouse, Short Order slings some of Perth’s benchmark burgers. The menu is short but owner Simon Kony makes each plus-sized, juicy option count, from the original Short Order Burger to the hunger-busting triple cheeseburger. Bonus points, too, for using (grass-fed!) Blackwood Valley Beef and the ability for patrons to BYO.
The Mantle, 1 James Street, Fremantle
Rockpool Bar & Grill
One of Australia’s first new-wave burgers, Neil Perry’s luxe Wagyu remixes continue to set the standard for sandwich-kind. The price tag, admittedly, might be more fine-diner than milk bar but then so are the ingredients, from the full-blood Wagyu beef used in the patties to the accompanying Gruyére cheese, turmeric-spiked pickles and bacon.
Crown Perth, Great Eastern Highway, Burswood; (08) 6252 1900
Napkins at the ready. Flipside’s burgers might be a study in simplicity – the classic, for instance, is just beef, lettuce, tomato, onion and sauces in a ciabatta roll – but there’s no skimping on size. Deliciousness aside, Flipside also polls well for locations. Its original spot at North Freo and the Northbridge and Wembley spin-offs are all next to small bars with staff happy to deliver orders direct to your bar stool.
239 Queen Victoria Street, North Fremantle; (08) 9433 2188
222 William Street, Northbridge; (08) 9228 8822
Corner of Nanson Street, 294 Cambridge Street, Wembley; (08) 9287 2288
6/262 Canning Highway, Como; (08) 9368 2280
Although Varsity has outposts across the metropolitan area, its dedicated Northbridge burger restaurant is the team’s MVP. Bottles of ketchup and Frank’s hot sauce are a fixture on every table, alfresco dining is available in the adjacent alleyway and the burgers – American in inspiration; juicy and well-built in execution – are served in dinky paper-lined plastic baskets.
70 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge; (08) 9227 9086
A Perth landmark since 1946, Alfred’s Kitchen is as famous for its late-night hours (in winter, guests warm themselves by the roaring outdoor fire pit) as it is for serving excellent Australian-style burgers. The specialties are made using seeded buns, thin patties, chopped lettuce and housemade barbecue sauce, while comprehensive steak- and bacon-burger options are further nods to Aussie milk bar traditions.
Corner Meadow & James streets, Guildford; (08) 9377 1378
RoyAl’s Chicken & Burgers
Say it Roy-Al, as in Alasdair Craigie, the journeyman chef that rebooted a suburban café into one of the city’s best hamburger hotspots. Craigie’s modus operandi is simple-but-delicious so patties are shaped out of fatty Angus beef, the onion is diced and American cheddar is the cheese of choice. And yes, Pulp Fiction fans, there is, indeed, a Royale with cheese.
8/885 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park; (08) 9355 090
Petition Beer Corner
Plated unadorned on a double-glazed Dudson plate, Petition’s hefty cheeseburger cuts an imposing figure. Yet for all its big flavour components – chief among them a well-seasoned black Angus beef patty, battered onion rings and smoked belly bacon – the burger manages to satisfy rather than overwhelm. Coupled with a brew from the speciality beer bar’s draft beer selection, you’re looking at the makings of an excellent working lunch.
28 Barrack Street, Perth; (08) 6168 7773
V Burger Bar
The burgers at V are another winning riff on the Aussie-style burger. The subtle crunch of a lightly charred bun sets off juicy beef, crisp salad and aïoli. For an extra dollar, enhancing your order with housemade chilli jam – a slow-burning, Indian-inspired chutney peppered with mustard seeds – offers brilliant return on investment.
12/910 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park; (08) 9355 3702
81/16 Howtree Place, Floreat; (08) 6161 0322
Elizabeth Quay Station Park, next to BHP Billiton Water Park; (08) 9225 6448
Meet & Bun
In a tiny food court in Perth’s white-collar heartland, John Pavlos and his fellows are satisfying the city’s lunchtime burger cravings, one Shake Shack-inspired sandwich at a time. Not that having tasted one of the American chain’s gold-standard burgers is a prerequisite for dining at Meet & Bun: golden, squishy brioche rolls cradling juicy chuck steak, frilly lettuce, tomato and a mild chipotle mayo translates to good eating anywhere on the planet.
Trinity Arcade, 72 St Georges Terrace, Perth; (08) 6161 7466
Listening to live honky tonk and eyeing off a wall filled with bourbon and taxidermy, it seems only fitting to be eating American diner classics. While many come to this late-night dive bar to gorge on fried chicken after midnight, it’s a mistake to overlook the cheeseburger. Wrapped in wax paper, these pillowy wonders of juicy beef and salad make ideal ballast for Alabama Song’s considerable boozy arsenal.
Rear 232 William Street, Northbridge
Top image: Short Order Burger Co